Saturday, March 13, 2010

Brothers heading back to Glens Falls; Saturday hoops roundup

For the third time since 2004, the Christian Brothers Academy boys basketball team is heading back to the Glens Falls Civic Center for the New York State Class AA Final Four.

Max Weaver scored 18 points (he made four three-point goals in the first half), Kam Ritter added 17 and Galal Cancer scored six of his 10 points in the fourth quarter as CBA defeated Cicero-North Syracuse, 61-48 in a Class AA regional final at Hudson Valley Community College.

CBA took a five-point lead into halftime, but the Brothers still weren't happy with their offensive production.

"In the locker room, coach told us we had to pick up our defense because we weren’t making anything," CBA senior Kam Ritter said of head coach Dave Doemel’s advice. "We made our defense our offense. We got some steals, we got some good looks and we got our confidence."

CBA forced 22 Cicero turnovers (the Brothers only committed 12) and the Brothers controlled the offensive glass, grabbing 19 offensive rebounds to Cicero's nine.

A season ago, the Brothers traveled to Section III to face CBA of Syracuse in the regional final, losing 50-45.

"It hurt us last year that we lost," Cancer said. "We thought we worked hard to get there and could have won and should have won that game. But we prepared hard and worked hard to get here."

CBA (22-1, ranked No. 2) will face Newburgh Free Academy (17-2, ranked No. 3) in the New York State Class AA Final Four in Glens Falls Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Newburgh defeated Mt. Vernon in its regional final game. Mt. Vernon had knocked CBA out of the state semifinals in 2004 and 2006.

"The kids worked real hard to get here and they deserve to go up," Doemel said. "We’re just going to have to prepare really well for another really good team and hope we come out with another good showing. It’s always difficult up there."

CBA’s Big 10 Conference rival Bishop Maginn was one of the teams to defeat Newburgh this season, as the Griffins scored a 60-56 victory in a Coaches vs. Cancer event at Siena College on Jan. 31.

"It feels great, especially for our seniors," said Ritter, who scored 17 points. "Last year, we saw the look on the seniors’ faces when they didn’t make it. It’s a great feeling for the seniors on this team to make it to the state Final Four."

For the full story, see Sunday's edition of The Record.

Watervliet's Ailayia Demand dribbles through an Ogdensburg Free Academy defender during Saturday's Section II Class B regional final at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. Watervliet won, 31-25. (Photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

It wasn't pretty, as Watervliet converted just nine shots from the field and was just 12-of-36 from the free throw line, but the Cannoneers held on the for 31-25 victory.

Watervliet will cross the Hudson River again next weekend to compete in the New York State Class B Final Four. The Cannoneers (19-4) will face Section IV champion Oneonta (18-2) in a NYS semifinal game Friday at 11:45 a.m. at HVCC.

Senior Nae White, seen here leaping through the lane against Ogdensburg, led the Cannoneers with a game-high nine points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

It's been a strange season for Watervliet, which lost its first game to Holy Names and endured a three-game losing streak (Holy Names, Lansingburgh and Mechanicville) in mid-January.

They've rebounded well in the postseason, grinding other teams to a pulp with their tenacious and determined play.

"I'm pretty happy with their improvement and from where we've come from that point," Watervliet head coach Gordie Johnson said. "I just hope we can keep it going."

Watervliet fans packed the stands at the McDonough Sports Complex at Hudson Valley Community College Saturday for the girls basketball team's regional final game against Ogdensburg. They'll be back again next weekend for the Final Four.

I know it was a banner day, well, at least a round regional plaque day, for Section II because I have no idea how we'll be able to cover everything next weekend for the Final Four games.

Four Section II girls teams - all in our coverage area - moved on: Shen, Averill Park, Watervliet and Maple Hill.

Three Section II boys teams are moving on, including CBA, Maple Hill and Germantown.

What do you think is the reason for Section II's success in getting to the Final Four this year? Is it the prevalence of CYO and AAU teams? Is it just a cyclical trend? Was it luck?

How many teams do you think can win New York State championships next weekend?

After I do my homework for preview stories this week, I plan on hosting a live chat Thursday night to discuss all of the local teams and their chances in the Final Four. How does 6 p.m. Thursday sound, right here on the blog?

See you then...

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